Weight is an important part of a cat’s health. Sadly, overweight and obese cats have already outnumbered normal weight cats; vets have noted that a huge number of feline patients suffering from various disorders come from this overweight group. As such, animal welfare organizations have been encouraging pet owners to take part in fighting feline obesity. This of course begins with people’s own cats. In order to cure this problem, know the five top causes of obesity in cats to actively avoid them.
An uncontrolled cat’s food intake is one of the top causes of feline obesity. Feeding too often or too much are the quantifiable factors leading to this nutritional disease. This kind of excessive eating habit can come from free feeding or too much treats. Free-feeding is the easiest option for pet owners to keep their pets happy; just filling the bowls and adding more when they’re half empty is a way to keep cats fed while freeing themselves from the hassle of on-time meals. Cats given this eating pattern tend to overeat and owners can’t control their kitties from becoming overweight. Aside from this, when cat parents give too much treats which can equal to a meal in total, it’s also a form of overeating. Free-feeding and treat-giving are ways that promote excessive daily food intake which can lead to obesity in cats.
If food intake is the quantifiable factor leading to feline obesity, poor diet is the qualifiable cause. Even if pet owners try to limit their cats’ food to a good amount, if that food isn’t healthy then the risk of obesity remains high. This is also due to many cat food, especially dry kibbles, having too much fat and carbohydrates. Cats are carnivores and their natural diet consists of high protein, moderate fats and low to zero amount of carbs. A lot of commercial food don’t offer this nutritional balance and can negatively affect a cat’s calorie intake and nourishment.
Another top leading causes for obesity in cats is inactivity. Cats living indoors don’t spend as much calories especially because they don’t need to hunt for prey and their food resources are readily available. This reduced amount of activity and exercise, partly stemming from their dependency on their humans, introduced cats to sedentary lifestyles.
Aging can also cause obesity in cats. Just like people, once we get older, our metabolism becomes slower and our ability to move around requires more effort, the same is true for cats. This is why when cats get older, their chances of becoming obese can double unless aided by human intervention.
Feline obesity is a disease in itself but it can also be due to other medical problems. Hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism and insulinoma can contribute to weight gain for cats. Additionally, neutering and spaying can also cause issues to a kitty’s weight. This is due to the changes in a cat’s metabolism because their hormone levels stimulating behavior and activities are lesser compared to intact cats. So, if you have a spayed or neutered cat, do note that their food consumption should only amount up to 80% of food given to unfixed cats.
So these are the top five leading causes of obesity in cats. Notably, cat owners have a lot to do with controlling or contributing to this feline weight epidemic. As such, knowing how much indoor cats depend on their humans’ supervision, it’s very important that people do their part right; limit food intake, improve quality of diet, encourage physical activities and aid old age or medical conditions to reduce the risk of obesity in cats. With this, pet owners can responsibly give or influence their cats to a healthier lifestyle, hopefully mirroring their own as obesity isn’t just a problem for felines but for people too.